The Pacers Are "Just Right"

Once upon a time, there was a little basketball scout named Gold E. Locks. Mr. Locks knew basketball and he had always been able to predict which teams were successful based on his theory that balanced basketball always gets the job done. Well, for one weekend, Gold was assinged to scout three NBA teams: the Boston Celtics, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Indiana Pacers. He decided to assess a few areas on each team and try to figure out which team was likely to have  the most success.

Gold decided to visit each team in their home city to watch them in their respective practice sessions. He stayed in Boston for a night and made the personal decison that, “This city is far too busy and populated. Although the baked beans are great, I could never live here.”

After Boston, he flew over to Oklahoma City. OKC wasn’t Mr. Locks’ cup of tea either. “This city is far too dull. I can’t believe that when I asked the hotel concierge for night-life ideas she simply had the horse and buggy take me to the local IHOP. No way I could live here.”

Gold next spent a weekend in Indianapolis. He felt at home. “You know, this city is just right. Not too crowded, not too dull. I could really see myself raising a family here.”

I’m not quite sure how Gold’s living preferences made it into this article, but more importantly, I was able to get a copy of the notes he took from his scouting report. Since Mr. Locks is such a great basketball mind, I thought that I might share a few of the points he made regarding three teams that Pacers fans have recently become familiar with.

Age

Celtics: “This team is far too old. A few of their players seem too elderly to even run the fast break. This is supposed to be a basketball team, not a retirement home.”

Thunder: “This team is far too young. Young teams can make poor decisons late in games. That James Harden guy might fool some people with his beard, but apparently he is only 22 years old. This is supposed to be a basketball team, not a daycare center.”

Pacers: ”This team’s age is just right. Most of its core is pretty young, but the roster has some great veterans like David West and Danny Granger. Age shoudn’t be a problem for them.”

Superstar’s Personality

Celtics: “This Kevin Garnett guy is far too mean. He’s got a lot of intensity, but I think he takes it too far. He kept screaming incoherent things at practice, and he made Brandon Bass cry four times. I really don’t think this sort of thing helps the team.”

Thunder: “Kevin Durant is a great kid. I think he might be a little too nice though. He could use a little bit more intensity. He wore a Dora the Explorer backpack to practice. Plus, he kept saying, ‘Keep your heads up, guys. Win or lose, when we get back to OKC, IHOP’s on me.’”

Pacers: “Danny Granger still has some room to grow as a player, but I think his personality is just right. He works hard and encourages his teammates, but also has a little tough-guy streek. And he was all business when it came to the most important parts of practice.”

Point Guard’s Shooting

Celtics: “Rajon Rondo definitely doesn’t shoot enough. He seems to have no confidence in his jump shot or his free throws. Teams can play five feet off of him in the fourth quarter because they know he won’t shoot the three. His fear of missing free throws might also effect his willingness to drive to the basket. Plus, I don’t know how he is going to get any better with Kevin Garnett screaming at him while he practices.”

Thunder: “Russell Westbrook shoots far too much. He has a great shot, and he’s a freak athlete, but sometimes he seems to forget that it’s not against the rules to pass the ball. It shouldn’t be too hard to defend Kevin Durant in the fourth quarter if Westbrook refuses to pass him the ball.”

Pacers: “You know, I’m not sure that Darren Collinson is nearly as talented as the other two teams’ point guards, but he might have the best shot selection. He has a better three-point shot than both of them and he can make a pull-up jumper off of a screen. He also doesn’t force up too many shots when there is a better option.”

Xs & Os

Celtics: “This team is far too reliant on perfect execution. Age prevents most of their best players from creating anything off of the isolation. They run great plays and set great picks that often lead to open three-point shots for Ray Allen, but the problem is that if the play isn’t executed perfectly then they aren’t very likely to get any points out of the possession.”

Thunder: “To be honest, this team doesn’t really run a lot of plays. They run your basic pick and rolls, but they also just rely on the one-on-one skills of their best players. They seem to be able to get away with it for the most part because Durant and Westbrook (and sometimes Harden) are so good, but when the defense is really locking down you need to be able to draw up some plays to create a few easy buckets.”

Pacers: “The Pacers’ play-running skills are just right. They run a number of simple plays that the team executes well. They spread the scoring around to a number of different players. When plays break down they have a couple of scorers who can make something out of nothing late in the shot clock.”

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. Gold E. Locks is usually pretty spot on with his game analysis. The Thunder and the Celtics are going to get a lot of hype going into the playoffs. But sometimes it can hurt to be too far in one direction for certain aspects of basketball.

With a just a handful of games left to polish their execution, it’s starting to seem like the Pacers are “just right.”

Topics: Boston Celtics, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Russell Westbrook

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  • Aj

    I’m sorry but this article is pathetic, and I’m a Pacers Fan. Don’t waste our time as readers by being a lazy columnist and give me some substance. Ya know like talking to someone with substance like a player. Plus, you fail to give Boston and OKC the credit they deserve. I’d hate to play either one in the playoffs. If you need something to write about, talk about Paul George becoming a super star this post season because it’s going to happen! #Pacer Nation

  • Derek U

    Took me a second to get the “Gold E. Locks”…. decent read, not far from the truth either. You have to love how humble Durant is for his status in the league, but I agree.. He could use a little more ferocity and attitude. I’d love to see them sign some one like Eric Gordon and play either him or P.G. off the bench. Either that, or a better point than Collison.. He has his amazing games, but is far too inconsistent. Altho I’m not against giving him another year, he has the intangibles to do great things.

  • Derek U

    Meh AJ. Something to read while being bored at work.. It’s a blog, not ESPN.

  • Mike

    C’mon 8.9, Y’all better than this. It was pretty funny but, seriously? You just took the Pacers are “just right”. There is so many other variables it’s not funny, and there lies the problem: Funny with not funny. It’s like mixing fire and water, all we’re left with is hot air and no substance.

  • Ronal Eugene is Right!!

    Eric Gordon is undersized and injury prone, why would anyone give him a max contract? We don’t want the smallest backcourt in the league which would be a huge defensive liability. He went to IU, big deal. There are plenty of other players that fit this team much better and would come much cheaper. Granger isn’t going anywhere and Paul George is a very good young shooting guard. Every one wants to move George to small forward because of his size, but if you look at the numbers he has struggled playing the 3 and Granger is our best player. Quit trying to overpay a player at the position we are deepest at. I can’t wait for New Orleans to overpay Gordon so these dumb comments can stop. That is until Zeller comes out and all the IU die hards start making a million comments trying to trade our whole team for him.

  • Mike

    Mike – pick a new name.

    REIR – Nobody is giving EG a MAX contract. And I don’t think NO will overpay since they’re owned by the NBA. They’re not in a position to overpay for anything. If we can EG for the right price, I say yes. And I hate to get ahead of ourselves, but how much do we think it will cost to resign Leandro? Is that even in the cards? We have some more money coming off the books. Only person looking to get paid this summer is Hibbs and thankfully he hasn’t been impressing too many folks since the AS break. And I think he’s a homebody. He’ll probably sign as soon as possible to avoid looking like a fool by taking less money to stay. Just an opinion, but I can see it shaking out like that.

  • Ronal Eugene is Right!!

    At the deadline for extensions Gordon turned down the Hornets offer because it wasn’t high enough. He reportedly wants a 5 year $80 mil deal (16 mil a year). I’m not sure what the max is but that is damn close and if the Pacers come in any lower there is no way New Orleans doesn’t match, Gordon is restricted. Tom Benson (owner of the Saints) bought the Hornets, so they are no longer owned by the league. Signing Barbosa is a much better plan and addresses an actual need. We have a starting shooting guard. We need scoring off the bench and Barbosa has been a great fit. I think Hibbert will be overpaid, but we have to match any offer. If you’re luck enough to get a legit starting center you have to keep him.

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/nba/story/2012-01-26/new-orleans-hornets-eric-gordon-unable-to-agree-on-extension

    http://www.nola.com/hornets/index.ssf/2012/04/nba_board_of_governors_approve_1.html

  • https://twitter.com/#!/Msquared122 Mike

    Other Mike – I was here first. :P

  • Mike

    I was here before both of you.

  • Mike

    Wow I’m confused.
    (this is first and third Mike haha)
    Also, EG is a very good player in this league, people forget that at times since he’s been injured lately, but don’t be mistaken, he’s no Greg Oden. If we get EG it would most likely be through sign-and-trade, which I don’t doubt Benson would be open to. He has no commitment to Gordon and probably doesn’t want to deal with a player who doesn’t want to be in NOLA, let alone tie up that much money in a player who doesn’t want to play in NOLA. It would probably end up being Dahntay Jones and Lance Stephenson (next year there will be one year on each of their contracts, right?) with a pick or two.
    Regardless of weather you like the deal or not, to say Barbosa is a better option cause Gordon is injury-prone is a joke. Barbosa has averaged only 51 games played over the last two seasons because of injury. Eric Gordon has also had issues, but they weren’t related and he seems fine now, but Barbosa really with a nagging injury that see people didn’t think he was going to every fly recover from. Add to it that Gordon is 6 years younger anda more dynamic scorer than the dynamic scorer that Barbosa is also. Also, I like how people are like “well who cares he went to iu”, well he’s also FROM Indy, which everyone was over the moon about with George Hill, so yeah that’s a factor and also a positive in my (and others) mind. Just seeing what Hill has already done in the community and how people have responded to his presence on the team is enough for me to hope we sign Gordon. (sorry for any errors our lack of punctuation, I typeD you’d from my phone so it was hard to edit anything)

  • Ronal Eugene is Right!!

    Gordon is the better player, if healthy. But if you actually read my post he isn’t a good fit because of cost and need. He’s getting a near max deal which means we won’t be able to sign Paul George who is a better fit with this team and could very likely become a better player. All reports say that Gordon loves it in New Orleans, maybe you should read this site sometime.

  • Ronal Eugene is Right!!

    Also salaries have to match for a trade to work it would probably take granger and hill for it to work.

  • Mike

    Gordon is a better player. Period.

    All PUBLIC reports say he’s happy, well of course he’s going to say that, he’s a good guy, but everything I back at the signing deadline said he wanted FA, and the only would sign in NOLA for a large contract because he’d rather be elsewhere. Also, I think it was Chris Broussard who said once on NBA Tonight that Gordon wanted to go Indiana and this was his first step towards that goal (not a huge Broussard fan, but he’s pretty good at what he does.)

    Salaries only have to be equal when you are at Max Cap, we have more than enough space to absorb Gordon’s contract once Barbosa goes off the books, the rest will go to Hibbert and Paul George should still have two option years left on his rookie contract, which means we don’t have worry about his contract until David West’s contract expires.

    Also, I do read this site quite a lot actually. It’s one of the best bball blogs on the net IMO.

  • Matthew

    If I am doing any trading – I am doing a sign and trade for PG Williams of the Nets – he is not happy there and would raise everybody’s game a notch for the Pacers. Granger and Collison for Williams is a trade that works cap-wise. I know Granger has been great but he is way too streaky – Williams is just as capable of a leader and is the point guard free agents will want to play with to fill the Granger void created by the trade and add depth to bench and possibly improve on West’s position after next year.

    Decent big man + elite point + explosive 2 + solid contributors throughout = move over Chicago and Miami, but first – lets enjoy this year and see what they can accomplish – been a long time since I could embrace the Pacers – this is a team I can follow and support.

  • dwain

    i would still rather have 2 years of a worn out Steve Nash, these guys would do great with some vet leadership at PG. trade em Lance an DC and a low pick. Sign Roy and PGeorge, have Hill coming off the bench and AJ(looked good last few games) as backup when Hill needs to slide to other spot. i vote we resign Barbosa too. he is killer when he is on, surely he an Nash want a ring bad enough to push this solid core over the top. with Nash we have a solid pick roll/pop game on either side with Roy and West, plus the steller dishes will open PGeorge for streaks to the basket…these guys just aren’t used to the ball popping up leading them right to the basket. prolly takem em 15 games to get used to the idea and for Nash to sus them all out skill wise…then its smoke an mirrors an 125 points every game, no let downs, no slow starts, every player gains about 15% stat wise

  • Mike

    No way Dwill is going to wanna come here. His eyed are fixed on Dallas. Also, since he is a UFA why would the Pacers sign-and-trade? (Pretty sure the cap is good enought to sign Dwill and make a separate trade to clear space..) Bottom line, I don’t like your primary scored to be your PG, So I’d be much more in favor of a Nash or Romeo pickup (If everyone remembers it was DC and a couple draft picks for Rondo allegedly) Personally, I’m in the “keep DC” camp. He’s cheaper most other options at PG, he knows the systems, runs it well, he’s unselfish, probably wouldn’t object to coming off the bench if it was better for the team, fast, great shooter, and has really showed improvement at times this year. Yeah I’m just pointing out his positives, but I think they by far out weigh the negatives.

    One other thing, if you look at Larry’s history with trades, chances are that the centerpiece of any of these trades on our end is going to be whomever we draft. If we get anything but a big man with great upside then I think our pick is going to go the way of Kawai Leonard.

  • Matthew

    Sorry – I thought DWill had one year left on contract. I do not have a problem with DC – just think in this league the better the point the better the team. I am not in favor or a worn out Nash – because he is worn out and he does not play defense – are you kidding – this is a team built on toughness and defense first then classic inside out offense – when fastbreak not avail – Not a good fit for Nash.